The forecasts put out by Italian specialists confirm the decline in the eyewear market for 2009. The Databank Institute estimates that sunglasses will be hardest hit on the domestic market, down by between 10 and 20 percent, while the prescription eyewear market lost between 4 and 7 percent.

Italy's export markets confirm the negative trend for sunglass sales, which are projected to go down by between 16 to 20 percent, with prescription frames suffering a drop of 11 to 15 percent. A few of the major brands have come off much better, including Ray-Ban, Oakley and Carrera.

According to the analysts, new patterns and strategies are appearing in the eyewear business. The companies most vulnerable and in danger of going under are the small businesses in the various eyewear districts, whose share of the market is extremely restricted, with the exception of those with niche strategies consisting of partnerships and sales agreements with foreign chains and buying groups. This type of strategy means that they are not competing directly with the major manufacturers and producers